Once again I find myself wondering just why the hell it is that phones don’t come complete with an "exterminate" button. It would make my life so much easier, and also: more fun!

A "company" (I use that word in its loosest term, because they don’t have a website and if I look them up on Companies House, I just bet they won’t be there) calling themselves Total Asset Management (Henceforth: Total Assholes Management) are harassing me. And Terry, in fact. Every day they call me, asking if I’d like to receive their information pack on Asshole Management, which is a field in which they claim some considerable expertise. I am not even a little bit surprised.

Every day I tell them that no, I do not want to receive their information pack, and that, actually, we’re with the Telephone Preference Service, which means that they’re not allowed to be calling us. Every day, they apologize, promise never to call again, hang up and… less than one minute later, they call back and ask to speak to Terry.


Every day, as soon as this little pantomime is over, Terry and I shake our heads like the wise old owls we’re not,  tell ourselves that really, we should report these people to the Telephone Preference Service, or… someone… and then do absolutely nothing about it, partly because we are lazy, but partly because the calls are obviously coming from abroad (the callers are always speaking heavily-accented pidgin English, and have difficulty pronouncing their own, very English-sounding, names and the number always comes up as "unavailable") so there’s probably not much the TPS could do about it, anyway.

Today, though, they have gone too far, for today Total Assholes Management have called me no less than SEVEN TIMES. Seven. Times. The first call came this morning, and was from a woman with an Indian accent who introduced herself as "Clara MacDonald" (a common name in that part of the world, I believe. Weird how she couldn’t quite pronounce it, though!). Before she had even got started on her spiel, I interrupted and explained to her that her company has been calling me every day, and that I’d like it to stop now, please, so could she remove me from her dialer. She apologised, said she’d never call again, and then, the requisite sixty seconds, she was back on the phone.

"Hello!" she said brightly, if indistinctly. "It is … Clara… Macd…Mac…Donald…from Total Assholes Management! I would like to speak to Mr Terry Mia… oh! Oooooh! Ooooh noooo!"

Then she hung up.

Now, if there’s one thing I hate more than people interrupting my (important!) work to try and sell me something, it’s someone who interrupts my work just so they can hang up on me. My blood boiled, but I had to content myself with ranting about it to Terry, who had been in the shower at the time, and had missed the (complete lack of) fun. Luckily for me, though (because I like a bit of drama), they called back this afternoon.

This time my caller was "Mike Smith", also of Total Assholes Management. I explained to Mike that his company had already called twice today, and asked to speak to his manager. So he hung up on me. Then he called back and asked to speak to Terry, who was at the gym. (Notice how I am NOT at the gym). Then he hung up on me when he realised that – whoops! – it was me again!

Ten minutes later, the phone rang again. This time it was "Nick Seargeant" of… can you guess? Yes! He was calling from Total Assholes Management! And he hung up on me before I could say anything more than "Can I take your phone numb…." Then he called back for Terry. And hung up! Again!

As I sit here writing this, the phone has just rung again. This time, there was no one there, but the number was "unavailable" and I’m willing to bet all I have (no one take me up on this) that it was my old pals from Total Assholes Management. I’d quite like to kill them now, to be honest. Ideally, by calling them on the phone repeatedly, until they go out of their tiny minds.

I’m thinking I need to be a bit cleverer about this now, though. By the time "Nick" called, I had already deciced that I was going to string the next Asshole Manager along a bit, keep them talking, make them think I’m interested in their scam, and somehow manage to get some details out of them that would allow me to report them to …. someone. Because I am a totally awesome detective-type person like that. But, of course, now they just keep hanging up before I can get a word out. Maybe it would be more fun to buy a whistle (OH GOD, NO!) and blow it down the phone next time they call. That wouldn’t work out so good if it turned out to be a client calling, though, hmmmm?

So, I hand my dilemma over to you, good readers. How should Total Asshole Management be handled?Over to you…

Oh, and just to add: no, not answering the phone isn’t an option – they’re calling on the business line, not the home line, which can legitimately be ignored.

  1. If I get unwanted calls I just answer the first couple of questions pleasantly then leave the phone with them still connected. That has worked well!

  2. Actually, I think a whistle would work well. Just be sure to use it only when someone who can't pronounce their own name is calling.

    Last week, a woman called me from this mobile phone-company and and wanted to know what company I was with. "Yours", I answered, a bit puzzled.
    "oh", she said and hung up.
    I considered changing companies after that, but then I realized they are all just as bad, so I didn't bother.

  3. That's a tough one. I'd go with the whistle, after they've introduced themselves.

    A friend of mine once kept a telemarketer on the phone for 30 min. asking her about her day and trying to pick her up. Also when I was little, one called the house trying to sell lightbulbs to my father. His reply? "I'm sorry, I'm blind. I don't use lightbulbs in my house."

  4. I would be hunting down their company information from the phone book/net and really calling their supervisor. Seriously. I know it's a job that has to be done, but not to those extremes!

  5. … because they don't have a website …

    So sell them one! Each time someone from Total Assholes Management calls, tell them you're so glad they called and talk to them about them not having a website, how much they really need one, etc. Might just make them go away if you turn the tables. 🙂

  6. Thanks, everyone. Jay, I love your idea (I've actually thought of doing that to telemarketers before!), but the problem is that they're now hanging up on me before I can say anything. I think someone must have added some kind of note or something to whatever information appears on their screen when they call me saying "Don't phone this bitch!" because now they just go, "I'm calling from Total Asset Mana… OH!" and hang up. Which is even *more* annoying than the marketing!

  7. Great article Amber – I feel your pain!

    Is there any way you can have the telephone company block their number? We were able to do that with our very own perpetual offender, UK Homes Network.

    On their first call, I pointed out the whole TPS thing and the smug bint on the other end said 'Oh but that's only for telesales. This is for market research'.

    Saying 'Not interested' and hanging up soon descended into me yelling down the phone, 'Is your mother proud of you? Is she?!'. Even then, they were still keen for me to take part in their dodgy 'survey' and tell them all the financial details of my mortgage – yeah right!

    Praise be to the geeks at BT who sorted it out (for once).

  8. In my having-no-life moments, I'll listen to almost their entire speech and then just as they're about to finish, play my cell phone's ringer and say "Oh, I got another call. One moment, please!" and then keep them on hold for at least a minute. When I get back to them, ask them to repeat the entire speech, then I repeat the "other call" routine again… and again. This angers them to no end.

  9. 1. Put the phone down gently on the desk and let them get on with talking to themselves.
    2. Try and sell them something.
    3. Start crying, tell them you're dying and insist on telling them all kinds of gruesome and completely untrue details. The more lurid and gross the better.
    4. Reply to every question, but start every answer with 'fuck.'
    5. Sing all your answers. In their accent.

  10. Can you call the phone company and have them blocked or something?

    Or I would just start answering the phone with "Total Asshole Management." Maybe they'll think they called themselves! 🙂

  11. Arrgg now they are picking on us!

    I have had Phil Johnson and Carla on the line so far today… and a couple of calls from ass management yesterday too!

    Carla just hangs up now as she got the full force of my ops director yesterday. Going to see just how much abuse I can heap on the next one.

  12. Hello all. At time of writing this, there is a major financial scam going on involving a company called "Total Asset Management" who have conned people out of money on fake commodities futures trading. I don't know if it's the same one Amber is referring to, but if anyone finds this page that has been involved in the scam, please visit the Motley Fool discussion boards and read the posts about the scam: http://boards.fool.co.uk/Messages.asp?mid=1098671

  13. Total, Total Arsehole Management. Sadly I was sucked in and have lost all my savings. If that was not crap enough, I was attacked 8 weeks ago and off long term sick with no pay from my employeres and thanks to the Arsoles no savings to fall back on!!!!

  14. Following Paula's comment – Total Asset Management are a fraudulent boiler room company effectively stealing money off unsuspecting "investors" by offering unbelievably cheap shares. Be very careful as these boiler rooms are very convincing but a complete con.

    I think the whistle idea or a massive Klaxon should work nicely. These "companies" are normally based abroad so if you do deafen one of their friendly brokers they will have to travel quite far to track you down!

  15. I also got taken in by this scam TOTAL ASSET (Arsehole) MANAGMENT &and lost money.

    Would you beleive it I have been done again. This time with a company by the name of:

    Siesma Oil Research LLC Bewere of this SCAM, Please leave comment if you know of them please

    Regards kenshev

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